Deadheading' can bring second flush of blooms before frost

The smallest act in the garden and in life can lead to big things. They started life as a jug band, or more accurately the remains of a jug band. And yes, this was a jug band that really played an empty jug. This band began their career as The Warlocks. After a gig at Magoo's Pizza in Menlo Park, California, the band learned that another band had already taken the name Warlocks. So the band changed its name. The new name was taken from a dictionary. Jerry Garcia chose a phrase meaning "the soul of a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, as an act of charity, arranged their burial."

The Grateful Dead was born.

Fans not only flocked to concerts, they flocked to wherever the Grateful Dead was, and the groupies known as "Dead Heads" were born.

Deadheading in the garden doesn't involve road trips or music but simply the removal of spent or "dead" flowers. In early fall deadheading can often mean a second flush of blooms before frost.

You can simply pinch off the dead blooms with your fingers, or use garden pruners.

When you deadhead spent blooms you promote new flower growth. Because flowers are the first step in producing seeds, once a plant blooms the plant's energy changes from producing more blooms to feeding the developing seeds.

Deadheading is also effective on herbs such as basil where you want lots of leaves but no flowers. Again, once the basil blooms it begins to die.

So flower production stops, and for some plants, the plant itself begins to die.

When you deadhead the blooms, you trick the plant into starting the reproductive cycle all over, and the plant will sprout another flush of flowers.

Another reason to deadhead is to improve your garden's appearance. Dead flowers tend to be colorless and ugly.

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